BMW F650 'Funduro' - Basics

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How it all began with the Funduro

The BMW F650 - aka Funduro - exists since 1993. It is the first monocylinder Beemer since the R27 - some 30 years ago. The F650 is not only Bavarian, it comes from the Alps. May 1991 'Projekt E169 started in cooperation with Aprilia form Noale, Italy, and the Austrian engine builder Rotax. If Milka took part in the project is not known. In fact the F650 is a somewhat different Transalp...

Pegaso and F650

Aprilia Pégaso II (left) as idea for the BMW F650 (right)

July 1990 BMW discovered the Aprilia Pegaso, powered by an Austrian 652cc Rotax engine. BMW lacked such a machine: a small monocylinder to go downtown or to go to the countryside. The new BMW should not be to expensive and had to be suitable for novices in motorcycling. At that time the K75 was the simplest BMW and with its 75hp and price of nearly 20.000 Dutch guilders not really a bike for beginners. Meanwhile the K75 isn't built anymore - it lost the ongoing need for more... horsepower, engine volume, cylinders and weight.

The F650 was designed by the Englishman Martin Longmore and got several designer prizes. The mudguard on the rear is a solution form the designer to meet German legislation and to keep the flap under the number plate short. Technically the F650 was adapted to BMW standards. The upside-down front suspension of the Pegaso was replaced by normal 41mm fork. The original five valves (three in, two out) were reduced to four. The space of the missing fifth valve was filled by a second spark-plug. The F650 has similar to the sporty Alfa Romeo 'Twin-Spark'.

The result is an economical and strong monocylinder with long service-intervals: the Funduro has to have a regular service every 10.000 km, whereas the Pegaso and Japanese competitors are scheduled every 6.000. Fuel consumption on a fast ride on the motorway is never more than 5,26 litres/100 km. Just riding around - the way the Funduro was invented for - it consumes between 4,55 and 4 L/100km. During our trip to Spain in September 1996 (4556,9 km) both our F650 used average 4,35 L/100km. A survey of the costs of riding an F650 is on a different page.

The span of life of the F650 is yet unknown. Of all produced BMW motorcycles some 30% still rides around. If the Funduro keeps up with that... The first few years some motor magazines tested the F650. After first-impression articles 30 and 50.000 km tests followed in the Dutch Moto73 and the German Motorrad. Tires, chain and clutch wear out like on any other bike. Further all measures were ok. The German Motorrad said it was good for at least an other 50.000. Hundred thousand without problems? I rode 58 750 kilometres without any problems - my Funduro really never let me down! I won't bother you with further technical specifications. Just go to a BMW-reseller and leave the building through the front window on an F650. Meanwhile the F650 is reasonable good available secondhand.

The BMW F650 became a trendsetter in the nearly-dead monocylinder market and can be seen as the mother of all Funduros - a mixture of fun and enduro motorbike and made for curvy roads and city traffic. Critics say the Funduro isn't really good at one thing, but surely you can have lots of fun with it at any place and moment. Four weeks holiday with luggage including some serious dirt roads are no problem at all. Playing in the sand or taking the short way through the woods is fantastic! Those who want to be in the south of Spain within 24 hours should buy something different - or take the aeroplane.

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Change of looks

The first 18 months more pieces of the F650 were sold than of any type BMW ever. Until model 1996 changes of the Funduro remained limited. Basic equipment was completed with several extras. From 1994 on the main stander was serial (in Germany this happened a year later!). To prevent damage to the ball-head bearing a small piece of plastic was attached to the lower fork bridge. For a small amount of money you can order this piece at the BMW-shop. The Michelin T66 tires replaced the fast wearing Pirelli MT60 of the first year. The buddysead seemed to be a little harder. More changes I could not discover. Beside red, white and green the F650 became available in black.

Original the F650 has 48hp but for some time a 34hp version is sold. This smaller version existed already in Germany because of the 'small' and regular drivers licenses for motorcycles. The 34hp version is simply held short breath by stuffing the two holes in the air box and somewhat narrower tubes between air box and carburettors. For small people a low seat version of the F650 was introduced. This is achieved by attaching longer plates between rear fork and suspension and letting the front fork further through the fork bridge. This originally Dutch invention is now adopted in the BMW-progam.

IFMA German motor show 1996, the new F650 was presented. the Funduro became more seventies-looks and a higher windscreen. The higher screen was one of the most wanted extras in past years. The direction indicators on the front are now on little stems. The indicators on the first series cracked the front body part at a crash. This caused costly replacement of the front body part. Now only the little light breaks off at about 1/5th of the original cost.

Funduro and Strada

Funduro with high screen and F650 Strada

Next to the Funduro the Strada or 'ST' was introduced. The ST was ment as street oriented version and has a smaller 18 inch front wheel (the Funduro has 19") and a smaller and more bent handle-bar. Handling of the Strada seems to be slight better than that of the Funduro. On the racing circuit at Assen in the Netherlands a Strada managed to keep several bigger machines behind it! The ST has its own front mudguard and engine protection. Metzeler ME33 and ME Z2 tires became the new standard for the ST. The Michelin T66 remained under the Funduro. Technically no adjustments were made for 1997. Because the F650 is the most modern, fastest and strongest mono this wasn't really necessary...

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Funduro 2000: F650 GS

At the beginning of a new millennium BMW present the latest model Fundur, the F650 GS. After the latest Dakar victories future BMW Mono riders need more 'offroad' looks. Gelände-Strasse and no one can deny that this bike is a relative of the one Richard Sainct rides. The bike got a dramatically new looks. Underneath is a new designed frame with a large subframe. The oil reservoir is no longer in the upper tube of the frame but is hidden somewhere else. The fueltank fitis under the seat which gives the bike less top weight. The rim sizes and other characteristics remained the same. The F-GS is also chain driven.
The four valve 652cc Rotax engine of the F-GS now comes with fuel injection. This means that fuel consumption drops and exhaust gasses are much cleaner. The extra advantage are the two extra horses and three Newtonmetres aboard: 50 bhp at 6 500 rpm and 60 Nm at 5 000 rpm.

F650 GS

F650 GS

The F650 will no longer be built in Italy - BMW relocated production to their own factories in Berlin. The previous roumors about a more offroad oriented Funduro did not result in a KTM like hard enduro - the F650 GS remains the excellent fun - allroad and travelling machine with modern technology. There also will be a 'Dakar' edition with large front wheel, longer suspension travel, different colours, handguards and a high screen.

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F650, more than a motorcycle for starters!

Originally the BMW F650 was meant as a motorcycle for starters. This is still the way BMW presents the Funduro in the Netherlands. The unknown and distant are the domain of the larger BMW types such as the R1100GS or the expected R850GS. Of course this machine is made to master long distances. For the rest I think the new GS has too much of it all: too much cylinders, too much power and too much too costly. Serious and adventurous travelling with the F650 is not much heard... Why not? The Funduro is not only the right tool to take a shortcut. Travelling with your gear you can nearly ride 400 kilometres without needing a gas station. Besides... Who needs lots of horsepower to meet distant countries and other people? The Fundurist is not such a person.

Funduro in Andalucia

Andalucia as goal for a holiday. Only a matter of time...

When travelling with two persons you should go lightweight. Nevertheless we went in 1995 three weeks to France on a single Funduro with panniers and topcase and had a great time. On your own or with a group of solo bikers possibilities are unlimited. Packing your gear means paying attention to take not too much with you. In our travelling diaries you can read our stories from the past two years riding more than 10.000 km through Belgium, France and Spain. We had only one serious problem: we had to go back... On the other pages on the F650 you will read that the Funduro is capable to a lot more than BMW wants you to beleve.

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meine van essen
HomePage v.6.2 - 4 February 2000